Living wills Bill before Dail
Date Posted: 08.06.2012
A Bill to allow for “living wills” is to be brought before the Dáil today.
If enacted, the Bill would allow people to set out the level of treatment they wish to receive should they become terminally ill or incapacitated and unable communicate.
Living wills, also known as advanced healthcare directives, take the control of what happens at the end of life “out of the hands of medical professionals” and “back to patients”, Fine Gael TD Dr Liam Twomey said.
Dr Twomey is bringing the Advanced Healthcare Decisions Bill before the Dáil during private member’s time today and he expects it to proceed to committee stage because it is supported by Government.
The Bill would “remove the God-like ability of the doctor to decide what is the best course of action “ and allow a patient “to clearly state whether or not they would like their life to be spared to the nth degree”, he said.
He pointed to the stress and guilt such decisions can cause a patients’ family and to the wide range of medical opinion when dealing in cases such as an elderly Alzheimer’s patient with cancer.
Ignoring the issue allowed it to remain taboo, Dr Twomey said.
Dr Twomey said the Bill's premise was in keeping with the a 2008 Law Reform Commission consultation paper on advanced care directives and the the Irish Hospice Foundation’s end of life report.